“I think so,” DeSantis answered when asked if he thinks he can beat Biden.
“If I were to run, I’m running against Biden. Like, [DeSantis and former President Donald Trump] are competing for the Republican, potentially, I get that, but ultimately, you know, the guy I’m gonna focus on is Biden because I think he’s failed the country. I think the country wants a change. I think they want a fresh start and a new direction, and so we’ll be very vocal about that.”
DeSantis laid out his road map for how he expected to win the general election, pointing to his success with independents in Florida in the 2022 midterm elections. He won the demographic by 18 points.
“You can’t win with just Republicans,” he said. “You’ve gotta win with independents, and you need to convince some of these Democrats, which I was able to do in Florida, because they’re not woke; they don’t like some of the nonsense going on. They want their streets safe, and they want quality education. So I think you could appeal to people across the canvas.”
He went on to say that the three focuses of his governorship that won him the election were tough-on-crime laws, combating woke ideology, and fiscal responsibility, all of which he contrasted with Washington. He claimed his experience as governor has prepared him well for the presidency.
“What I’ve been called upon to do as governor is make the right decisions when it wasn’t easy,” he said. “A lot of people thought I was dead a few years ago because I was charting my different course, and my view is I got elected to save the jobs of the people I represent. It can’t be looking out for my own job.”
“I can’t worry about getting criticized. I can’t worry about the political fallout,” he continued. “I’ve gotta do what’s right and I’ve gotta stick by that. And I’ve gotta be willing to take the arrows, and I think we need more of that in terms of our leaders now because when you want to do the right thing with the media environment, social media, and all this stuff, people come after you and that’s just the price you’ve gotta pay for leadership, but I think it’s an ingredient that’s essential.”
When asked if he would run for president, DeSantis wouldn’t give a definite answer, but he heavily implied he would. “Stay tuned,” he said — the same answer Nikki Haley gave before announcing her campaign.
However, he said he has what it takes to become president.
“I think what it takes is to have a vision for the country, have the ability to exercise leadership, and being willing to stand in that fire when it gets really hot and not back down under pressure … and I think I have all those things,” he said.